Wednesday 12 July 2023, 14:00

Unity Pitch and Football Ferns bring World Cup experience to Napier

The Unity Pitch made a special visit to Napier in Aotearoa New Zealand in a celebration of football as the Football Ferns completed their public preparations for FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™. Hit by devastating floods in February, Napier enjoyed a dose of World Cup fever over a couple of days highlighted by New Zealand playing their first ever match in the east coast city. The Unity Pitch’s colourful patchwork of the tournament brand colours was heightened by the sunny backdrop on the beach in a city renowned for its rare level of Art Deco architecture. Over two days the Unity Pitch hosted a range of activities including Blind Football, Teachers v Students, Girls only games, Central Football v Napier City Council staff game and free time on both days for the public to enjoy.

The highlight, however, came on Tuesday when the Football Ferns arrived and were greeted by a large turnout of young happy faces with Tazuni, of course, also on hand. The visit was a day after the co-hosts secured a 2-0 victory over Vietnam in a history-making fixture, as New Zealand enjoyed a first outing against the Southeast Asian nation and in their debut at McLean Park. The Ferns celebrated the upcoming home World Cup by walking out onto the pitch with jackets emblazoned with the names of all capped Ferns inside the number 24. The Unity Pitch, which was originally unveiled on the shores of Sydney Harbour at the One-Year-To-Go milestone in July 2022, has travelled to all nine Host Cities and seen nearly 100,000 people engaged on the pitch.

Unity Pitch, Dunedin